Augmented Reality as a Tool for Children Education: School of the Future
Traditional forms of educational material presentation rarely use the possibilities of computer visualization. Modern immersive technologies introduce bright three-dimensional images into the learning process, add interaction and a game element, develop creative abilities, spatial imagination and project activities skills.
The technology of AR in education plays a more essential role in every passing year: schools, colleges, and universities around the world are moving from traditional methods to more advanced ones. Paper textbooks and manuals are replaced by e-books, wooden and plastic boards are substituted by displays and tablets.
Traditional Education Needs Immersive Digital Transformation
The traditional education system, built on the transfer of knowledge from the lecturer to the audience, today requires new approaches, including technological ones. Augmented reality can turn the learning process into a multidimensional virtual experience. AR is in demand not only in the entertainment industry but also in the education sphere. Virtual images that students can see right in the lecture hall make the educational material more visual, vivid and memorable. And what is education, if not a reality augmented with new knowledge?
The effectiveness of its use is confirmed by various tests and experiments that show excellent results. For instance, a series of experiments were conducted, in which a group of children was shown a visual material with AR during the lessons, and the second group was demonstrated ordinary posters and diagrams.
It was found that in the group where augmented reality was applied, the percentage of children who learned new information approached 90%, the level of discipline improved and it was managed to keep the attention of about 95% of the whole audience, whereas, in the group with two-dimensional training manuals, all indicators were two and three times less.
One of the reasons for this influence is that AR creates an effect of presence, very clearly reflects the connection between the real and virtual world, which psychologically attracts a person and activates his attention and susceptibility to the information component.
Although in education, augmented reality is used quite rarely so far, more and more teachers, researchers and developers are starting to move towards more interactive teaching methods, but unfortunately, this process is slowed down by the high cost of equipment.
Why is Augmented Reality Good for Education?
Visibility. A two-dimensional paper projection, although it gives a complete picture of the object, does not allow one to “feel” it, take a closer look at the individual elements in detail.
The three-dimensional approach is a completely different matter, a future specialist can evaluate the detail, understand its structure, realize various improvements and changes.
3D graphics makes it possible to reproduce even the most complex processes, invisible to the human eye in detail, right up to the nuclear decay or chemical reactions.
We can also increase the level of detail and see the movement of electrons or reproduce a mechanical model, for example, the development of a human cell at different stages.
Visualization. This technique is often used in teaching children who are still unfamiliar with such concepts as the theoretical approach and abstract thinking. Visualization of the theory with the help of augmented reality, in turn, facilitates the memorization process, improves material processing.
Interest. Remember your own school years… Flipping through the black and white pages of a textbook is not a very exciting process. And now imagine that the pages of your textbook come to life, the characters engage in dialogue with you, explain difficult moments, help to get into the essence of the material. Such an approach, possible with augmented reality, is more interesting, more pleasant and clearer.
Involvement. AR technology makes it possible to simulate any action mechanics or object behavior, to solve complex mathematical tasks in the form of a game. Applications with augmented reality allow you to travel in time, looking at the main scenarios of important historical events or to see a person from the inside from a red blood cell standpoint.
The possibility of conducting virtual lessons. Due to the ability to display the simulated space from the first person and self-participation effect in virtual events, it became possible to conduct entire lessons in the augmented reality mode.
Future of Education with Augmented Reality
A society never starts to use innovations immediately and on a massive scale There is an innovation adoption curve, that shows the speed with which different people adapt to technology. First, come “geeks”, they are the fastest, about 2.5% of the total population. They are followed by about 13.5% of early adopters — these are start-ups and other business people, those who are wondering how new technologies can work.
And only after that, the user majority starts to get involved little by little. It is divided into the early and late majority. In the case of augmented reality, we are in the moment of transition from early adopters to the early majority.
Regional school newspapers with augmented reality already exist. That is, you download the application, point at the newspaper, and the picture turns into a video. People associate this innovation with the Harry Potter universe, and this is how several generations react, so this image consolidates in people’s minds.
There is a video that Microsoft made about the future of technology, that depicts the world in 2020, and there is a person in this video who takes just the same newspaper as the one portrayed in Harry Potter movies!
Regional school newspapers are using elements of augmented reality technology, for instance, QR codes, interactive coloring books, animated images, that come to life with the help of mobile gadgets (smartphones and tablets).
Benefits of Immersive Technologies
One of the main advantages, in addition to the mobility of the edition, is its visualization — the pages of websites, video materials about the described events, as well as the game component in the form of animated coloring books and sports simulators based on augmented reality become available.
The use of QR codes in the release of the school newspaper editions has significantly increased the amount of information placed with a dramatic reduction in the print surface, made the publication mobile, increased the degree of material visualization and outstandingly simplified the mechanism for reaching the target audience.
For example, for an audience of preschoolers and junior schoolers, one of the newspapers contains a coloring book, that depicts a tiger cub with a ball. In the picture description, it is said that when the reader colors it at his own discretion, for example, in the colors of his favorite football club, using a mobile device (smartphone or tablet with Android or iOS operating systems) this picture will become volumetric in painted colors and interactive (you can play football with the tiger cub).
When considering the educational field of secondary schools, teachers have a limited period of time (about 30-45 minutes) in which they must submit a large amount of the necessary material. Augmented reality can help children gain rich interactive experience, and teachers can fulfill curricula and institutional requirements.
So far the use of AR in education is rudimentary. British researchers in 2000 began to study its use as a tool for teaching students. They found that it was especially useful for teaching science subjects as a 3D character of augmented reality that provides students with the ability to manipulate time, position, angles, rotation, and encourage them to reflect on the consequences of their actions, which is a key aspect for achieving successful understanding.
Augmented reality is effectively used in objects of the natural science cycle. There is an example of the University of Warsaw, where using AR technology, they were able to recreate the historical places of Warsaw. Schoolchildren saw the streets of Poland before the war on their mobile devices and could go for a walk there.
Another example is the application “Reliving the Revolution” — a game that reveals one of the key historical events in US history — the Battle of Lexington. Pupils and students with the help of GPS, tablets, and phones explore the mysteries of the battle; in so doing the users themselves play the role of soldiers and participate in the battle on a real map in Massachusetts.
Some Japanese students who learn English are using the “New Horizon” smartphone application to work with new-generation AR textbooks. The textbooks themselves are provided by the publishing house “Tokyo Shoseki”. “New Horizon” using the built-in cameras of the smartphone shows animated characters on the right pages of the book. With this kind of program learning, a language becomes more interesting and easier.
Studies conducted in several UK educational institutions have made it possible to highlight the necessary design requirements for future AR applications that teachers could use in the classroom:
- The flexibility of AR content so that teachers can adapt it to the needs of different children;
- The ability to add and remove elements and change the speed of the animation;
- AR systems must provide training material for a certain period of time;
- The opportunity for children to explore the content of augmented reality, and this research must be carefully prepared to maximize the learning effect;
What Does it Take to Create an Augmented Reality Education Solution?
The development of educational AR applications should take into account the nature and limitations of the institutional context in which it should be introduced.
If AR will be used as an effective learning tool, the task of designers and teachers is to research and process AR elements within well-designed parameters to ensure successful learning, due to which goals can be achieved in a relatively short period of time.
The game world must be consistent, integral, harmonious, it allows to immerse the learner in the gaming environment. Also, do not forget about the element of chance, it makes the game interesting and exciting.
All decisions made during the training process must be consistent, all actions must have feedback and keep the player’s attention. Finally, the game process must be coherent and continuous, the game must be interactive. In this case, all tasks should be fundamentally executable.
Performing all tasks during the game completion, the student must clearly imagine and understand the purpose of training. Educational computer games have a huge teaching potential and within the framework of training, they can be used quite widely.
The integration of games into the learning process creates new and more productive ways of learning in universities, schools, communities, and workplaces.
Game environments can create special learning communities. Games do not necessarily have to be focused on education as educational tools, their main task is to interest the student in the subject, to give him motivation and incentive to learn.
Students best learn by doing, and with the help of educational games, they can do it without leaving the classroom. Therefore, the game changes the appearance of the curriculum in schools and this must be considered.
It is safe to assume that in the future an effective methodology for the use of games in education will be developed, which will meet all the requirements set by the educational community.